If you were on another planet you might have missed the fact that there was a controversy at LeWeb3 last year. I was there but didn’t have a blog at the time; I now have a voice.
The best summary in less than 10,000 words can be found here: LeWeb3 is actually â€œLoic for presidentâ€ at blog.forret.com. LoÃ¯c wrote the 10,000-plus word version of events with his response here.
Here’s my view…
First, I had a fantastic time last year. Except for a couple of speakers, mainly in the group discussions, who were more interested in promoting the company logo than being interesting, it was well worth my time and money (I took vacation and paid for myself).
Second, I’d not been to any of the previous conferences and therefore wasn’t looking to replicate something from the past. I’m interested in politics, technology and just about anything that I don’t know. As it turned out, two of the best speakers were not IT speakers at all; Hans Gosling was amazing and Shimon Peres was inspirational and got a standing ovation. There were another ten presenters who were well worth the two days on their own.
Now to how I perceived things. I was sitting at the front at the left and it was very clear that something was happening on the other side of the room as early as the mid-morning on day one. This was before the announcements that supposedly sparked all the controvosy.
When changes were made to the program I just held onto my hat and thought that at least I was seeing something new.
However, when I got home to wi-fi that worked after day one the blogs were very negative and it seemed that I was the only happy customer in the room. By the end of day two the blogs had gone into meltdown and the end of the world was iminent.
The aftermath of the conference was the end of TechCrunch UK v1.0, discussions about starting a “real European conference in the UK” and even the end of LoÃ¯c’s career.
I can’t help feeling, even a year later, that most of the fuss was generated by a small group who had a hidden agenda. Conferences are big money and I think that last year was the last chance for someone to get a rival conference off the ground.
We’re now twelve months on and LeWeb3 is back and even bigger, I’ve not heard of any massive life changing conference in the UK and LoÃ¯c the poor man seems to have the hottest startup around.
So what was wrong with last year again?